The plot thickens in the long-running case of Daphne Caruana Galizia, a Maltese journalist who was murdered in 2017 as she was preparing an exposé on corruption in her home country. The report centered on questionable contracts awarded by the government to a company owned by Yorgen Fenech, also a well-known casino operator in Malta. However, her story would never be completely unveiled. Galizia’s murder caused a global public outcry, forcing a major investigation that ultimately led to Melvin Theuma. He began unraveling the mystery for investigators in exchange for immunity, but the case has taken a turn after he apparently acknowledged that he was involved in a casino heist that went unsolved for 11 years, as well as two robberies involving HSBC bank properties.
Theuma Gets Presidential Pardon for Testimony
Like something out of a super spy novel, the story surrounding Galizia is complete with allegations of corruption, deceit and cover-ups that ran through the ranks of the Maltese government and the country’s casino scene. Theuma was ultimately linked to Galizia’s murder through forensic investigations and is said to have helped arrange the car bombing that killed her in October 2017. In exchange for his testimony, Theuma was given a presidential pardon, which has reportedly opened the floodgates to a decades-long racket of criminal activity of which he was a prime participant.
Theuma has acknowledged that he arranged for Alfred and George Degiorgio, along with Vince Muscat, to organize the car-bombing. They allegedly carried out the assassination on behalf of Fenech in order to prevent the journalist from completing her story, which also reportedly involved former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and two members of his cabinet. Fenech was ultimately arrested, but his ties to Malta’s gaming industry also brought down high-ranking individuals with the Malta Gaming Authority and the Maltese Financial Services Authority.
More Damning Evidence Surfaces
Apparently comfortable with his new role as a police informant, and knowing that he is immune to being punished, Theuma has helped investigators close several chapters that they haven’t been able to resolve for years. In 2010, the Casino di Venezia was robbed when a band of thieves got away with around $611,850 (€500,000), although the casino never confirmed the amount. Theuma has admitted that, while he wasn’t involved with the heist directly, he provided refuge to the thieves in a safehouse.
In 2007, as Malta was preparing to adopt the euro, thieves attacked a branch of financial giant HSBC in a mid-day brazen theft that resulted in $1.22 million (€1,000,000) being stolen. HSBC’s main office in Malta was the location of an attempted robbery that went bust, with three people arrested following a shootout and brief chase. As in the case of the casino heist, Theuma had offered a safe place for the criminals to hide in both HSBC attacks.
More details about all of the cases are expected to surface in the coming months. Theuma turned over recordings after his arrest that investigators have been able to use to begin piecing together each of the crimes and the individuals behind them. As more arrests are made and more evidence surfaces, it will become clear exactly how deep – and high- the scandal runs in Malta’s political and gambling scenes.